----- Original Message ----- From: "Christian Ohm" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <warzone-dev@gna.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 1:50 AM
Subject: [Warzone-dev] Thoughts on future development

Hi everyone,

Here are some random thoughts about the future development of Warzone.

Things about the code that need changing imo:

- The graphics engine, including the GUI

As I said, I don't think it's useful to keep the current one. As far as
I could see there are four open source engines that run on Windows,
Linux and MacOS: OGRE, Irrlicht, Crystal Space and OpenSceneGraph. The
first three are of the "everything and the kitchen sink" variant (with
different renderers, file handling...) and include more than just the
graphics engine. The fourth, OpenSceneGraph, is just that - an OpenGL
scene graph library without much else (and thus my favorite).

One problem with an external engine is availability. OGRE in Debian
unstable is at version 1.0.6 (current is 1.2.4) and the last time I
tried, wasn't straightforward to compile. Irrlicht is not in Debian, but
was easy to compile.  CrystalSpace in Debian is at 0.99, while 1.0rc is
available, don't know about compilation.  OpenSceneGraph is current.
That's for Debian, I don't know which other distros include which
version of those libs, but if we use an external lib, it has to be in
lots of distros, and easily compileable for the rest, or we'll get no
end of questions like "i cant compile teh 3d engine help plz or ur teh
sukz". Or we include the engine (at least in releases), then we have to
keep it current and integrate it into the build system.

A new graphics engine needs the models in a compatible format which is
dependent on the engine used, of course. There's a format called
COLLADA which is intended as an interchange format to transfer data
between 3D apps, and so should be supported by most newer 3D apps. This
can be loaded directly by OpenSceneGraph (and I think OGRE as well), and
is supported by Blender (so transferring the old models to a new format
is no problem, once someone finds Rodzilla's Blender importer for PIEs
or I finish mine). For faster loading the models could be converted to a
binary format for releases (OpenSceneGraph has a converter for that,
don't know about the others).

The current gfx engine is surely outdated, but considering the nontrivial nature of this task and our limited manpower we really have to be sure we can pull this off, so we won't bargain one trouble for another getting stuck in a dead-end. In other words under current circumstances i'm a bit sceptical, but it shouldn't stop anyone who is sure of a positive outcome.


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